Mama’s World – How to Help Our Little Ones Overcome Fear

The Christmas season brings both blessings and challenging situations.

While it is a season of merrymaking, it is also a time when either petty thieves or robbers step up their night activities. So I guess I was not quite surprised when I recently woke up at 3am to the alarms of our guard screaming at the thieves.

My sons were equally awakened and I had to calm them down in order to get them back to sleep. However, since then, it has become a frequently-discussed topic in our home. They have become afraid that anytime the thieves may return and this time for even bigger things.

I have tried to explain to them what happened and calm their fears, but I realised that it is not something that will disappear quickly. Hence we as parents need to do more to allay our children’s fears.

A child becomes afraid when circumstances beyond their control, or circumstances they don’t understand, rock their fragile sense of safety. The process of development, birth and early growth presents many moments when a child’s sense of safety is challenged.

And although we consider ourselves an aanced society, many children still face deeply-isolating and even life-threatening situations early in their lives. Damage is also done by the harshness, threats, and violence portrayed in movies, cartoons and fairy tales.

The situations that instilled fear made the child feel helpless and powerless. To safely release the fearful feelings, she hangs her fears on a pretext that is ordinary and commonplace. This way, she can bring up the feelings at a time when there is no real threat.

As a child grows, her fears attach first to one pretext and then to another if she isn’t able to get the help she needs. Your child is ready to release feelings of fear when she is acting deeply afraid of a harmless situation.

Helping our children release their fears can be difficult work. It is surprisingly hard to get children to overcome the depth of their fears and grief. You will find that things go better when you find a listener for yourself, so that you too have the chance to say what you think and notice what you feel as you work hard to help your child conquer their fears.

A friend shared with me how she helped her daughter overcome the fear for water and managed to get her to swim. She would bring her into the pool and get her older sibling to get in first and inform her that she would get in also. The younger girl would cry and cry. Mother would reassure her and get in with her.

On the third try, she first put in the pool some plastic bath animals which she was familiar with in her bath tub at home. After about five minutes, she saw the bath animals on the side of the pool. She asked the mother to put in the duck, then the crab, then the turtle. That did the trick. She looked into the pool and shouted: “Swimming!” with a big smile on her face.

It is always great when one has tools that can be used to help our little ones overcome their fears of any situation. As for me and my sons, I am still working out a strategy.

Source : The Observer

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